Total motile sperm count: a better indicator for the severity of male factor infertility than the WHO sperm classification system
Study Question: Does the prewash total motile sperm count (TMSC) have a better predictive value for spontaneous ongoing pregnancy (SOP) than the World Health Organization (WHO) classification system?
Summary Answer: The prewash TMSC shows a better correlation with the spontaneous ongoing pregnancy rate (SOPR) than the WHO 2010 classification system.
What Is Known Already: According to the WHO classification system, an abnormal semen analysis can be diagnosed as oligozoospermia, astenozoospermia, teratozoospermia or combinations of these and azoospermia. This classification is based on the fifth percentile cut-off values of a cohort of 1953 men with proven fertility. Although this classification suggests accuracy, the relevance for the prognosis of an infertile couple and the choice of treatment is questionable. The TMSC is obtained by multiplying the sample volume by the density and the percentage of A and B motility spermatozoa.
Study Design, Size, Duration: We analyzed data from a longitudinal cohort study among unselected infertile couples who were referred to three Dutch hospitals between January 2002 and December 2006. Of the total cohort of 2476 infertile couples, only the couples with either male infertility as a single diagnosis or unexplained infertility were included (n 1⁄4 1177) with a follow-up period of 3 years.
Participants/Materials, Setting, Methods: In all couples a semen analysis was performed. Based on the best semen analysis if more tests were performed, couples were grouped according to the WHO classification system and the TMSC range, as described in the Dutch national guidelines for male infertility. The primary outcome measure was the SOPR, which occurred before, during or after treatments, including expectant management, intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization or intracytoplasmic sperm injection. After adjustment for the confounding factors (female and male age, duration and type of infertility and result of the postcoital test) the odd ratios (ORs) for risk of SOP for each WHO and TMSC group were calculated. The couples with unexplained infertility were used as reference.
Main Results and the Role of Chance: A total of 514 couples did and 663 couples did not achieve a SOP. All WHO groups have a lower SOPR compared with the unexplained group (ORs varying from 0.136 to 0.397). Comparing the couples within the abnormal WHO groups, there are no significant differences in SOPR, except when oligoasthenoteratozoospermia is compared with asthenozoospermia [OR 0.501 (95% CI 0.311 – 0.809)] and teratozoospermia [OR 0.499 (95% CI: 0.252 – 0.988)], and oligoasthenozoospermia is compared with asthenozoospermia [OR 0.572 (95% CI: 0.373 – 0.877)]. All TMSC groups have a significantly lower SOPR compared with the unexplained group (ORs varying from 0.171 to 0.461). Couples with a TMSC of ,1 × 106 and 1–5 × 106 have significantly lower SOPR compared with couples with a TMSC of 5–10 × 106 [respectively, OR 0.371 (95% CI: 0.215–0.64) and OR 0.505 (95% CI: 0.307–0.832)].
Limitation, Reason for Caution: To include all SOPs during the follow-up period of 3 years, couples were not censured at the start of treatment.
Wider Implications of the Findings: Roughly, three prognostic groups can be discerned: couples with a TMSC ,5, couples with a TMSC between 5 and 20 and couples with a TMSC of more than 20 × 106 spermatozoa. We suggest using TMSC as the method of choice to express severity of male infertility.
Study Funding/Competing Interests: None.
Abstract Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25788568
Total motile sperm count: a better indicator for the severity of male factor infertility than the WHO sperm classification system.
Hamilton JA, Cissen M, Brandes M, Smeenk JM, de Bruin JP, Kremer JA, Nelen WL, Hamilton CJ.
Hum Reprod. 2015 May;30(5):1110-21. doi: 10.1093/humrep/dev058. Epub 2015 Mar 18.